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Transitioning houseplants
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Even though temperatures have still been staying pretty hot most of the time, the cool weather snaps add that fall crispness that make thoughts about the changing seasons in the front of the mind. This also brings up thoughts of the end of the growing season and what fall chores need to be accomplished before the coming winter. This week I thought I would share an article from Ward Upham, K-State Research and Extension horticulture specialist about houseplants. Plants that were taken outside to benefit from the summer sun should be acclimated to being indoors for the winter. Ward covers a few tips to help your plants be able to make the transition smoothly.
Many people with houseplants move some of them outside for the summer to give them better growing conditions and help them recover from  the stress of an indoor environment. But as fall approaches and night  temperatures approach 50 F, it is time to think about bringing plants
inside for the winter.
Plants that have spent the summer outside should be inspected for insects and disease before bringing them inside. A sharp spray from a garden hose can remove insects or mites from houseplant foliage.  
Insects in the potting soil can be forced out by soaking the pot in a  tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes.
Houseplants that have been kept outdoors are accustomed to receiving much more sunlight than they do indoors. So how do we help  houseplants acclimatize to the lower light levels inside?
Houseplants brought in from outside should be started out in an area of the home that receives plenty of light, and then gradually moved  to their permanent, darker location. This process should take four to eight weeks depending on the degree of difference in light levels  between the initial and final location of the plant.
Understanding plant processes allows us to anticipate potential problems. Acclimatization gives houseplants a greater chance of retaining leaves and avoiding the stress of completely replacing them.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at or calling 620-793-1910